Valentine’s Day has long enjoy a seedy, scandalous history stemming from ancient times. Originally, the Romans celebrated a festival called the Lupercalia on February 13-15. During this annual festival, nearly naked young men would run and strike fertile young women with leather thongs to encourage their changes of successfully conceiving and birthing children.
Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped indelivery, and the barren to pregnancy. (Plutarch).
Later, the Catholic Church banned the Pagan celebration and declared February 14th in honor of Saint Valentine (Valentinus). However, his history is also steeped in mystery. In fact, the Catholic Church removed him from their official calendar of Saints in the 1960s.
To learn more about the history of Valentine’s Day, see the Discovery News Article: “The Seedy, Scandalous HIstory of Valentine’s Day.”